What if I told you that at one point being resolute was the most important thing for me? It’s what helped me to focus on getting from where I was to a much better place…
Life, as I have learned in the last few years, can throw some very hard and cruel challenges at you and it’s how you get through them, and what you do in the middle of them, that determines where you are going to go afterwards. Similarly, when setting resolutions and goals, I’ve come to learn that it’s important to have a very clear, definite and unwavering ‘why’ that motivates you. Having a solid why will help you to establish a concrete plan; a plan that ultimately leads you to where it is you want to go.
My name is Elaine Keogh and I am a mum to one daughter who is now 21. Two-and-a-half years ago I went through something that changed my life, and today the words of Mao Zedong – “Be resolute, fear no sacrifice, and surmount every difficulty to win victory” – rings true in my life. I want to share my story with you in the hope that I may inspire just one of you to stick to your resolutions, and also to help anyone who may be going through something similar.
I didn’t know it at the time, but in July 2016 I was going to have to dig deep to overcome what was ahead of me. I was married and unfortunately it ended quite suddenly. This and other factors left me in a state of shock, panic and fear; it was a very traumatic time and I struggled to know what to do next. I started to have very serious panic and anxiety attacks which I had little control over. I had never suffered from them before, so it was a complete surprise that shook me to my core. I would later find out that I was dealing with panic and anxiety attacks, depression, fear and PTSD all simultaneously and daily. It was such a scary time for me – I was unaware that I was experiencing these mental health issues – but what I did know was that I was a strong person. I knew I was going to get through it, I just had to figure out where to start!
Whatever I did, it was clear that I had to take care of myself, so I started with the thing I knew would help me, my health and my wellbeing: exercise and following a nutritious diet. I knew that if I focused and worked on these areas, the rest would eventually follow.
I’d already spent the last three years learning about Forever Living Products and I was well aware of the natural health benefits, as well as the importance of working on a positive mindset. I knew that if I had a goal and a plan, I could make it happen, but I hadn’t quite appreciated that anxiety and depression can turn positive plans into something negative almost immediately. Despite this hurdle, I was determined to persevere – it just meant I had to work extra hard to keep my mindset positive!
So, what did I do?
I was having approximately ten panic attacks a day and my mind was constantly racing so I had very little energy, but still I pushed myself and gradually started going to the gym. I started with a simple plan and I went three times a week. It was the summer so I also went for long walks in nature and this grew to a regular run – I was never a runner before but I found that it helped with my anxiety! I also started to eat a very clean diet as I knew my body needed good wholesome food, high in protein and lots of green veg. I ditched sugar and only ate complex carbs like brown rice and pasta, and I continued to use Forever products daily as I found they made the whole process easier.
When I look back on the other times in my life when I had chosen to embark on a fitness plan, it was because I had set myself a goal to fit into a smaller dress or a bikini for an event or holiday, but this time was different. I needed to overcome these horrendous mental health issues and rebuild my life. Months had already passed since I had first started and Christmas was looming, and although I was feeling fitter and stronger, I still wasn’t where I thought I would be. I was about to face what are often the most depressing months of the year (January, February and March), and I knew I needed a new plan in order to get through them. I decided that I would train early in the morning from 6am-7am as I’d heard that the endorphin release would make me feel good. So, at 5.40am, my alarm would buzz and regardless of the weather or how I felt, I headed to the gym. I did this five mornings a week and having a new plan, vision and goal meant that nothing was going to stop me. My birthday is 29th March and I really wanted to feel different by then, so this was the ultimate deadline.
The end of March felt a long way off, so I decided to break down what I wanted to achieve into monthly, weekly and daily goals. I kept a gym diary, ticking off my to do list as and when, and with each week and month that passed I felt a strong sense of achievement. Of course, there were days when I just didn’t want to work out, but I made myself do it as I knew I would feel great afterwards, and I always did.
By 1st March my fitness levels were sky high and the Forever fitness supplements continued to help me through. I had less than a month left and I needed a new goal to push me through the remaining weeks, so I booked myself in for a professional fitness photoshoot as a birthday present. If a camera doesn’t scare you into squats and sticking to your diet regimentally, nothing will! In total I trained for 84 days and I did this during the worst period of my life. I was beaming with pride and tears as I knew exactly what it had taken to get there, and I was looking forward to documenting my hard work and persistence.
Since this fitness stint, my life has changed dramatically. In June 2017 I was named the first fitness brand ambassador for Forever Living Ireland and I have travelled across the UK and Ireland delivering trainings and presentations on Forever’s fitness products. I have also personally mentored nearly 500 people, sharing diet and fitness tips. I started a business called Prep, Cut and Tone where I offer advice, tips and quick, healthy recipes via social media, and I continue to set myself fitness challenges – in 2018 I ran my first 10K, half and full marathon!
Life is all about lessons and this experience taught me that if you take baby steps, you can overcome anything life throws at you. I’ve learnt that feeling good in your body and mind can help you to feel good in life. Ultimately, in order to be resolute, you simply need to take a deep breath and start small.